A flurry of seizures and arrests in first weeks of 2015, reports Seychelles anti-drug agency
The crest of the National Drugs Enforcement Agency in Seychelles (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Just three weeks into 2015, the National Drugs Enforcement Agency (NDEA) of Seychelles has seized drugs worth more than a quarter of a million Seychelles rupees (almost $18,000) in a number of anti-drug operations.
According to a press statement issued by the NDEA yesterday afternoon, the agency seized almost a quarter of a kilogram of compressed cannabis from a boat at the inter-island quay on the main inhabited island of Mahé on Thursday.
“The seizure is believed to have been a consignment belonging to a drug distribution network operating between Mahé and La Digue,” read the statement.
Other cases of cannabis-related arrests included a 27-year-old shipping company employee in relation to 37 grams of the herbal drug and a 42-year-old farmer who was found to be growing a concealed cannabis plantation. A search of the farmer’s home led to the discovery of a further eight packets of drugs.
A 31-year-old unemployed man from Cascade, a district on the east side of Mahé, was also arrested for possession of controlled drugs suspected to be heroin during a search of an apartment on 15 January.
|Samples of a suspected controlled substance packaged and ready for sale, seized by the NDEA in mid-January 2015 (NDEA) Photo license: CC-BY|
The NDEA seized over 87 kg illegal drugs worth around $3 million during 2014, surpassing its 2013 figures by around 150 percent.
In recent years, the use of heroin has become a major concern in the Seychelles - a group of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean with a population of only around 90,000 people.
Figures released in a study carried out by the Seychelles Ministry of Health on drug users in 2011 show that injected drugs is being practiced by some 1000 heroin drug users in the country, although the NDEA estimates this number to have decreased to around 600 by mid-2014 due to aggressive anti-drug operations in conjunction with multi-pronged social programmes to help addicts detox and live more productive lives.